Over at “eyes on sales” colleague Paul McCord, gives some real practical advise on how Sales Managers can still provide for their Team Members even, if in an attempt to lower cost of sales, their budgets have been cut to the bare minimum.
These days, using budget cuts is no longer an excuse for not helping upgrading the talent in your team . As Paul points out, there are free training resources in abundance available be it on the net or in form of books and articles. I personally find the iTunes Store a very useful source for inspiring podcasts. It is just amazing what resources you can download for free from there.
Using this material in sales meetings seems just such an obvious option. The team members don't even have to set aside reading time to prepare for the training part of the meeting. They can use unproductive time (e.g. traveling to and from work) to listen to these sometimes excellent materials. If carefully selected, there is material available that could be recommended as a refresher to be listen to on the way to the customer.
Sales Managers hardly need to worry about the cost of providing iPods or other MP3 type readers to their teams. Chances are that their salespeople own already one or more of those devices. Marketing departments love them as vehicle to broadcast their messages.
Although acquiring the know how is made easy, putting it into use is another matter. Here is where sales managers can provide added value by helping their teams to practice on the newly gained knowledge in a save environment, before trying it out with real customers.
Granted, it takes sales manager's time to find these and other resources like blogs, articles and books and then make a suitable selection for the team. As a sales manager ,you could thus also take the attitude, as it is so easy, let your salespeople can find these resources by themselves. The risk you run with this attitude is that everybody might pick a different source best fitting with their individual preferences. You will end up with an organization operating what CSO Insights call an organization with a Random Process. I recommend you consult their “Sales Performance Optimization 2009 Survey Results and Analysis” where you will learn that this approach might cause you sleepless nights.
Since last week, sales managers have now an new resource at their fingertip helping them to develop their people on a show string budget. Top Sales Experts 2.0 (TSE) have opened their door last week. On this site some 60 well renowned sale experts from around the globe offer a repository of their articles they have written. You will find also a library of 'How to guides'. Podcasts etc. There is also one place to go to consult their Blogs. By clicking here you can subscribe to this resource at a preferential early bird rate.
Full disclosure: I am proud to be a member of TSE.